America’s borders are broken. There is no more simple way to say it. We must shut the back door of illegal immigration, so the front door of legal immigration can remain open. Securing the border, insisting companies hire only legal workers, rejecting amnesty and rewarding those who play by the rules are necessary before Congress considers a temporary guest worker program.
Secure our Border. I supported the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and continue to fight to ensure full funding for border security, through fencing, electronic sensors and a more robust Border Patrol presence.
Stop Illegal Hiring. America can take a large step in the right direction by simply stopping businesses from hiring illegal workers and giving honest employers the tools they need to hire legal workers. That’s why I have supporting the verfication of employees through modern technology. Bills I have championed created a database that employers can quickly and accurately tap to make sure their employees are able to work legally in the United States. Once an effective employment verification system is in place, enforcement becomes easier and those that may cross the border illegally have less of an incentive to do so.
Reject Amnesty. I have always been, and remain, adamantly opposed to any legislation that grants amnesty to illegal aliens.
Protect our Border Patrol. Law enforcement officers have incredibly tough jobs protecting our safety. We shouldn’t make it harder on them. That’s why I was deeply troubled that two border patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, were sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison for misusing their weapons in the line of duty. There’s no doubt these two men committed a crime, but the minimum sentences these men received were too harsh. The sentencing law was originally created to punish criminals using weapons during the commission of a crime, not against armed law enforcement officers making split-second decisions while pursuing criminals evading arrest.
To help right this wrong and protect other border patrol agents from enhanced penalties designed for everyday criminals, I introduced, H.R. 6367, to create a narrowly defined exception for law enforcement officers, using a seven-part test in the criminal code that defines punishment for crimes involving firearms. If satisfied, it would prevent law enforcement officers who have been sentenced in a crime from having their sentences enhanced because they used their firearm while on duty and in pursuit of a criminal they believed to be violent and dangerous.
The legislation gained early support from the Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association and Friends of the Border Patrol. I, and 74 other Members of Congress, wrote a letter to President Bush asking him to commute the sentences of former Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean, which he did before leaving office.
Investigate Fast & Furious. I am a sponsor of a bill calling for a U.S. House vote of of 'No Confidence' over U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's handling of Fast & Furious, an ill-fated operation that “allowed thousands of weapons of various types to be illegally sold and or transferred from the United States to violent drug cartels and known criminals in Mexico and elsewhere.” The resolution also points out that due to “failure to properly control, monitor, or establish Operation Fast and Furious, it is likely Mexican nationals were killed or wounded by weapons sold through this scheme,” and that “evidence further suggests that such guns have been used in the United States, and may be involved in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.”
There is no question that our country has been made better by the law abiding people who came to this country seeking to assimilate into our culture and to make a better future for their family. As we work to solve our illegal immigration problems, we should always remain true to our values, respect the rule of law, and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.